MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: What is oligotrophic mean, if it exists?

Date: Mon Oct 1 12:40:40 2001
Posted By: Aydin Orstan, Staff, Office of Food Additive Safety, Food and Drug Administration
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 1001806273.Gb

Dear Brittany,
Every feeding level in a food chain in an ecosystem is a trophic level. In 
a simplified scheme, the plants belong to the first trophic level, the 
animals that eat plants to the second trophic level, and the animals that 
eat other animals to the third trophic level. A food chain could be 
complex and have many trophic levels.

The prefix "oligo" means "few". So, an oligotrophic ecosystem has only a 
few feeding levels.

An oligotrophic lake or bog has low concentrations of nutrients and as a 
result contains only a few species and relatively small populations of 
aquatic plants and animals. The food chain in an oligotrophic lake would 
be relatively simple with only a few trophic levels. 

The following site discusses the classifications of lakes.

Aydin Orstan 

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